Oklahoma lawmakers press U. of Oklahoma to return Nazi-looted painting


(JTA) — Some two dozen Oklahoma state lawmakers are calling on the University of Oklahoma to research if it owns any paintings that were stolen by the Nazis.

Twenty-six members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives introduced a resolution Monday that asks O.U. and its Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art to determine whether any of its paintings were “unlawfully appropriated during the Nazi era.”

The specific painting behind the resolution is Camille Pissaro’s “Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep,” which was donated to the university by Clara Weitzenhoffer upon her death in 2000. The 1886 painting, one of 33 donated to the museum from Clara and Aaron Weitzenhoffer’s extensive collection of French Impressionist art, belonged originally to French department store owner Raoul Meyer.

Meyer’s entire art collection was seized by the Nazis when they invaded France during World War II.

“Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep” changed hands several times, KGOU reported, before a Swiss court ruled in 1953 that Meyer had missed his five-year window to recover the painting. Meyer’s daughter filed a lawsuit against the University of Oklahoma in January 2014.

University officials told The Associated Press that the painting’s full ownership history is unknown.

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